Punch, 57 (1869), 125.
Animal Development, Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Darwinism, Heat, Invention, Music, Instruments, Language, Nutrition, Domestic Economy, Philosophy
Addressed to Mr Punch, this poem is a response to PU1/57/10/5. The writer begins by warning Mr Punch that the 'Medium Gorilla' has 'spun you / A yarn of lies, as to his breed', and then invites him to read Charles R Darwin to learn about the 'millions of years [...] It took a Baboon to develope / Monstrosity into a man'. Proceeds to his alternative history of the development of man from monkeys and gorillas. This explains the long history of how monkeys and gorillas developed the physical and cultural attributes of humans: these include their creation of sparks for fire (after a monkey 'was pounding / Some nuts with two stones in the dark), the invention of a xylophone (after a Monkey 'Laid several sticks in a row'), the transformation of simian 'jabber' to the 'language Max Müller describes', food rationing and brewing, and the proliferation of 'Metaphysical apes', who inscribed 'abstract' ideas on sand or bark and gradually bit off their tails, since they got in the way when they were writing. Invites Mr Punch to 'admire how plastic is nature' because the 'tail-hating' gorillas 'Had little gorillas without', and notes that such 'tailless' and 'brainless' gorillas still 'roam on the African shore', beasts who believe they are the 'cream of the cream' of their species.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005-07
Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 3.0, hriOnline Publications <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]